James Bond (George Lazenby)
James Bond played by George Lazenby
Born in Queanbeyan City, New South Wales, Australia on 5th September 1939
Starred In On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
The producers of James Bond introduced George Lazenby to worldwide audiences in a way that is used for lots of other characters throughout the Bond films. As with Sean Connery in Dr No, and Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice, the audience only gets to see parts of the character before they are introduced. Bond is seen lighting a cigar, the back of him, and looking at Teresa Di Vicenzo through a telescopic sight. It is not until Bond rescues Tracy from the sea, that George Lazenby introduces himself to Tracy in James Bond's classic way.
Numerous elements where inserted into On Her Majesty's Secret Service to convince audiences that George Lazenby was still James Bond. The credits showed scenes from previous films slipping through an hourglass, and a scene in Bond's apartment where he examines famous artefacts from previous films.
George Lazenby took on the character of James Bond at a very crucial time in the Bond series. Sean Connery had just left, and the part was left to this relatively unknown Australian actor to keep the Bond series going. Due to a mediocre audience reaction, and advised that the Bond series would die out anyway, Lazenby would only star in one James Bond film. It can be said that Lazenby was against the odds when he took on the role of James Bond. With the pressure of being the James Bond after Connery's departure, his long shadow still very much present, and combined with Lazenby's disagreements with directors throughout production, things didn't go too smoothly for the Australian actor.
Despite being offered a very lucrative offer to feature in six more Bond movies, Lazenby decided to turn down the offer, giving him the chance to move onto other projects which he saw as having the potential to be more successful.
George Lazenby had a number of career changes in his early life from being a ski instructor, car salesman and mechanic, before becoming a very successful model. Apart from the few TV commercials that he appeared in, (where Cubby Broccoli spotted him) he had no acting experience prior to being cast as James Bond.
When On Her Majesty's Secret Service was released, Lazenby's performance as Bond was seen with mixed success. He appeared to have the correct physical stance and ability, but his persona and acting ability were often criticised. However as time as moved on, reception towards the film, and indeed Lazenby's portrayal of Bond has improved, with some fans now claiming OHMSS to be amongst their favourites.
While George Lazenby may only appear in one film, he does the pleasure of being part of probably the most romantic of the Bond films to date, and of course marrying his only wife Teresa Di Vicenzo. §